My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: The Global Energy Crisis and opportunities for Jamaican Investors and the Private Sector

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Global Energy Crisis and opportunities for Jamaican Investors and the Private Sector

It seems that there are moves afoot in the corridors of power in Jamaica as well as on the international scene as it relates to Energy Security that indicate a coming time when Peak Oil will signal the actual outstripping of supply by overwhelming demand as opposed to speculation by Market Forces on Wall Street and Stock Brokerages and Demurrage Barons sitting around computer screen watching the Commodities Market. Indeed, Senator James Robertson, Minister of Mining and Energy was the first locally to unveil plans for a coming Liberalization of the Energy Sector in Jamaica by the crafting of his highly anticipated Energy Policy in 2009 which laid out plans for the conditions under which licenses for Power Utility Companies (PUC) could be set up and allowed to generate and distribute Electrical Power in much the same way as the local Power Utility Company, JPS Co., is currently able to do as well as the production of biofuels for the local market e.g. E85, Anhydrous Ethanol, LNG (Liquid Natural Gas), LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas), biodiesel. But there was already blood in the water when Brunei earlier in August of 2009 began the building of a solar power plant as stated in the article " Oil-Rich Brunei to have solar power plant", published Thursday August 6, 3:33 am ET, Yahoo! News, AFP, ( which should have struck John Public following the Oil Futures Market as being decidedly odd, as with supposedly billions of gallons of oil still untapped, why would they be seeking to conserve, being as they had an abundance of oil supposedly able to last for the next 200 years? Even more eyebrows should be raised at increasing interest in the use of Nuclear Power for Civilian Power by the Arabs, who have been having talks about setting up their own regional Arab Atomic Agency to legitimize nuclear proliferation by Iran ostensibly for Civilian Power as stated in the article “Arab Atomic energy agency proposed”, published Monday March 29th 2010, The Jamaica Observer, AFP, (

 ven the Government of the United States of America under then President George W. Bush, after the failure of the Iraq War, which the international John Public surmises was merely a power play to secure oil futures, before demitting office stated that the USA had to secure its Energy Future by switching from the use of Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy, a cause which President Barack Obama, the 44th President and Commander in Chief has taken on as his main plank for reform of the American Economy . As such, LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is part of the Renewable Energy mix for the United States of America for its Domestic Supply of Fuels along with Biodiesel and E80 to be used for Electrical Power Generation and Motor Vehicle Fuels respectively and ever since the news has been full of stories coming out of the United States of America which indicate that they are in a breakneck race to develop Renewable Energy solutions. From the breakthrough by venture capitalist K.R. Sridar, CEO of Bloom Energy in developing what Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes”, aired Sunday 21st February 2010 refers to as “the Holy Grail” of power engineering is a Bloom Power Server, a fuel cell technology that is based on a semi permeable membrane made from pyrolized sand i.e. sand that has been heated and temperature controlled sintering under anaerobic (oxygen free, vacuum) conditions to recent developments aimed at weaning the United States of America from its dependence on Corn-based Ethanol by the production of Anhydrous Ethanol using sewage, and pyrolized organic waste from any organic source as stated in the articles “Microbes to start making ethanol, Chemicals”, published November 18, 2009 9:52 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech, ( “Microbe converts sludge into ethanol”, published Friday 11, December 2009, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – GreenTech, (, “Wood-chip ethanol maker opens plant”, published October 15, 2009 7:50 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech, ( and "A Forest epidemic turns into energy opportunity", published April 7, 2010 2:04 PM PDT by Candace Lombardi CNET News - Green Tech, ( the much touted research regarding LS9’s Biodiesel process detailed in “Gene-altered bugs make biodiesel”, published Wed Jan 27, 1:31 pm ET by Yahoo! News , AFP, ( and “Researchers coax bacteria to make Biodiesel”, published January 27, 2010 3:59 PM PST by Martin LaMonica Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech, ( . Like good red peas soup, this Global Energy conspiracy was only to get thicker.

Locally here in Jamaica as well as in the Latin American region, several developments indicate that Governments are aware of an impending increase in Electrical Energy and Fuel Power demand by its regional neighbors as well as by the United States of America, as evident in such expansion developments into energy storage by Greek shipping magnate Aegean Marine Petroleum US$20 million expansion plans for the construction of fuel bunkers on land to store MGO (Marine Gas Oil) and MFO (Marine Fuel Oil) as stated in the article "US$20M MORE TO BUNKER - Greek firm eyes investment in Jamaican storage facility", published Wednesday, April 07, 2010 BY CAMILO THAME Business co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer, ( the declaration of the intention to construct a US$.6 billion dollar Refinery by Mexican Petroleum interest PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) and mysterious hastily commissioned two (2) week restoration of a 15-foot statue named El Atlante de Tula by Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica, Leonora Rueda as stated in the article “Mexico’s new refinery to take shape this year”, published Thursday April 1st 2010, by Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer, The Daily Gleaner, ( the recent discovery of a super gas field by Venezuela, indicating an interest in LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) supply to compete against the Middle East, Asian and Far East LNG interests for trade in this now desirable commodity as stated in the article “Venezuela taps natural gas super well”, published Tuesday March 30th2010, The Daily Gleaner (AP), ( recent declarations by the Government of the People’s Republic of China as it relates to the purchase of our alumina interest and supplying them with the LNG to reduce the cost of energy used in the process of making alumina as stated in the article “Noranda Bauxite targeted for acquisition – Chinese powerhouse CHALCO to invest in Jamaica”, published Wednesday April 14th 2010, Business Section, The Daily Gleaner, ( and now recent calls by Senator Philip Paulwell, Opposition spokesperson on Energy and ICT for the Liberalization of the Energy Sector and the issuing of licenses for Power Utility Companies to be able to produce and distribute electrical power as a means of forcing the cost of electricity down and thus making doing business easier in Jamaica as reported in the news report on Prime Time News, aired Wednesday April 14th 2010, on Television Jamaica, a member of RJR Communications Group.

Thus it seems the warning of the coming of Peak Oil in 2010 by the International Energy Agency, the UN watchdog on Energy and counterweight to OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) as stated in the article "IEA official warns of shrinking oil supplies: report", published Sunday August 2, 9:04 pm ET, by Yahoo! News, AFP ( is very real. To put that in plain English, that means that the oil production would have reached its maximum and cannot be increased to meet up with increasing world demand. This article’s dire warning were recently backed up by statements by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin as stated in the article “World faces oil crunch by 2015”, published Sunday 14 February 2010, The Sunday Herald, AFP, which effectively means that we must go Renewable by 2015 – or face the collapse of our Social Order as we live in a world dependent on cheap fossil fuel based energy. Many oil producers are heavily indebted to bankers and will not be in a position to look for more oil in a bid to increase production. Energy and its pricing and availability affects the price of production and trade of commodities in production and manufacturing sector, and thus this news is a bellwether that indicates that the current recession will definitely last till 2016, as with peak oil come significantly higher oil prices and thus any discovery of oil by 2015 off Jamaican shores (hopefully!) would mean that the price of the commodity would make it an excellent commodity to stockpile and use to support the Jamaican dollar as opposed to borrowing from the BOJ. Thus, this online article and the recent AFP quote by Sir Richard Branson and British Business Leaders is now newsworthy, as we are now in the beginnings of the Government of Jamaica economic recovery plan as laid out in the article “'No more skylarking' - PM outlines economic programme and debt exchange”, published Thursday, January 14, 2010 by Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter, which, as far as one can see, aims to increase the tax net, reduce local debt, sell off non-performing Government of Jamaica infrastructure, cauterize the continuous slide of the Jamaican dollar via a US dollar denominated loan from the IMF, implementation of laws necessary to encourage growth such as the Credit Reporting bill and the Cyber Crime bill as stated in the article “Move to Tackle CyberCrime - Hacker got Golding”, published Sunday February 14, 2010 by Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner, ( and eventually reduce inflation by the separation of our economy from the US dollar by liberalizing the Energy Sector. The last item, the Liberalization of the Energy Economy, is now of greatest importance ever, as it is necessary in order to have production and manufacturing, the main driver that will move us from being a net importer of foreign goods to suit our growing appetite for la dolce vita to a next exporter and earner of foreign exchange, as stated in the article “Debt Swap and Debt Trap”, published Sunday 14 February 2010 by Robert Buddan, University Lecturer in the Department of Government, The Sunday Gleaner, ( and hence result in employment and further growth in the Services Sector.

It is well known that the Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy, has made statements in Parliament in 2009 that indicate a soon coming liberalization of the Energy Sector as indicated by the Energy Policy. There, however, has still been no news from his Energy Ministry as to when LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) imports from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, are set to reach Jamaica and the preparations made by the Government of Jamaica with regard to Storage and Distribution of LNG as well as preparations by the Bauxite industry and the JPS Co (Jamaica Power Service Company) in terms of modifying and changing (if necessary) their generators to use the new fuel, as stated in the article “LNG for Jamaica a national priority – Manning”, published Friday June 26, 2009, The Friday Gleaner, by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar, Business Writer, The Daily Gleaner, ( despite having now being given the ailing Air Jamaica , which we needed to get off our books, as indicated by the sale of Air Jamaica properties in the article “Gov't selling off Air Jamaica properties”, published Thursday February 11, 2010 by Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer, The Daily Gleaner, ( Time is now of the essence, as the sands of time have now been set for us, as 2015 is only five (5) years away. This supply of LNG, however appears to be in jeopardy as Prime minister Patrick Manning, leader of the ruling PNM (People’s National Movement) as stated in the article “Manning’s Big Secret – Prime Minister keeps election date close to his chest”, published Wednesday April 14 2010, The Daily Gleaner, (CMC),The Daily Gleaner, ( has decided to call snap elections at an unknown date after declaration of “no confidence” in his leadership by the opposition UNC (United National Congress), in what is being described by the leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad Bissessar as the worst recession to hit the Twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in years.

If Jamaica is still has an economy dependent on oil and still importing oil for energy purposes by 2015 with no net investment (local and foreign) and increase in production as opposed to an emphasis on services, the global inflationary effect that this increase in the main driver of production will have will most certainly force the entire world into a Second Recession, as is now possible and shaping up to occur in the United States of America, due to its reliance on debt to encourage spending in the short term, its abundance of ill-placed faith in the Services Sector and lack of investment in the Production Sector. This Second Recession, referred to as a Double Dip Recession or “W” shaped Recession Recovery as opposed to a long term “U” shaped Recession Recovery is a theory which is echoed by Dennis Chung in the article “RISK OF A DOUBLE-DIP RECESSION?” published Friday, September 18, 2009, contributed by Dennis Chung, Business Observer, The Jamaica Observer ( Thus it is time for other Private Sector, both Local an FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) interests to invest in the soon to be liberalized Energy Sector, preferably by doing research in conjunction with the University of the West Indies as suggested in the article "Turning the energy innovation engine at MIT", published March 8, 2010 8:29 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech, ( in light of their current economic difficulties that have resulted in Budgetary Cuts in Subsidies to Tertiary Education as clearly stated in the article “’Not credible’ – University Students dismiss Budget as woefully inadequate”, published Sunday 28th March 2010, Dariane Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Daily Gleaner, ( thereby creating the competition that will no only drive the price of Electrical and Fuel Energy down and be a benefit to not only themselves but also to the environment in a concerted Latin American effort to stave off Global Warming as we approach the year 2015.

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